Gilliam. There’s no way he’s on here ahead of many deserving auteurs if I didn’t think Brazil was much closer to the 50th best film of all-time than the 183rd best where TSPDT consensus has it. Man, I wish he made both more overall films and more archiveable films- and without an archiveable film since 1998 I fear it may be over for Gilliam. Unmistakably, his case is hurt by having only 6 archiveable films but although there may be some misses along the way in his career there is no compromise in Gilliam. I adore his individual creative signature.
Best film: Brazil. It’s not only a massive “M” masterpiece and a top 10 film of the 1980’s (I’ve got it at #8) but an unbelievably ‘Gilliamesque’ film. It’s simultaneously one of the greatest fantasy films, sci-fi films, and comedy films of all-time.
total archiveable films: 6
top 100 films: 1 (Brazil)
top 500 films: 2 (Brazil, 12 Monkeys)
top 100 films of the decade: 4 (Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Fisher King)
most overrated: none- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has decent enough reviews for a Gilliam film (he, like Lynch and von Trier have really poor metacritic average scores for their level of genius) but I have it out of the archives— I still need to give it another look.
most underrated: 12 Monkeys. It’s been long enough and there’s no good reason this fantastic film hasn’t emerged on the top 1000 of all-time. Definitely underrated.
gem I want to spotlight: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – speaking of underrated- somehow this is still “rotten” on RT. It’s one of Depp and Del Toro’s best performances and the drug use as surrealism is really a perfect marriage of Gilliam and Hunter S. Thompson.
stylistic innovations/traits: Gilliam is both gothic and romantic. His films are directed with eccentric fervor and clearly a cartoonish fantasy. Typically his stories revolve around outsiders repelling against a rigid organization. There is surrealism and insanity in all of his films. These are showcased by brilliant editing, unconventional acting, costume, and a busy and deliciously hyperbolic mise-en-scene. He uses canted angles, wide fisheye lens, and a sort of retro-fitted, garbage-art clutter for his production design. Gilliam is a unique maverick.
- 12 Monkeys
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- The Fisher King
- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
- Time Bandits
By year and grades
|1981- Time Bandits||R|
|1988- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen||HR|
|1991- The Fisher King||HR|
|1995- Twelve Monkeys||MS|
|1998- Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas||HR|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives